It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a challenging year for most people. What it has meant though is that many people have reviewed their lifestyles and come to decisions (whether voluntarily or not) about changes they would like to make either for themselves or for their family. Whilst escaping to the country is nothing new, polls suggest that there has been a marked increase in the number of people considering this sort of move. The coronavirus crisis has certainly highlighted some of the downsides to urban living and this coupled with increased flexibility around remote working has led many to consider relocating to more rural areas. The South West is regularly mentioned in articles about the best/happiest place to live, so if you’re considering a move to the South West region, keep reading.
For almost three decades Chadwick Nott has been advising lawyers from Equity Partners to NQ solicitors with moves within the South West region and lots of lawyers who are looking to relocate here for the first time.
Below we look at some of the reasons why you should explore options to relocate to the South West.
Career - Home to 24 of the top 100 Law Firms, the South West is an attractive place to progress your career. Working in the regions certainly doesn’t mean compromising on the quality of client work. In fact, host to large international/national law firms, well- known regional practices, specialist boutique firms and smaller high street firms, the South West offers many exciting prospects for solicitors of all levels and disciplines. Many firms pay top regional salaries and offer excellent benefits. For many lawyers the smaller teams in the regions can often mean greater visibility to senior management and swifter career progression. Flexible working arrangements are high on the agenda for many South West firms and 2020 has proved to be a step change in this regard.
Schools - There are numerous well-regarded private and state primary and secondary schools throughout the region. In addition, there are around 30 colleges and 12 universities. Many students who attend universities in the South West either choose to remain in the area on graduation, or look to return to the South West (often after training and qualifying in London).
House Prices - The average house price in the South West is around £300,000. This allows many candidates relocating to the region to get on the property ladder, or to significantly upgrade their family home. The most expensive area within the South West is currently Dorset, closely followed by Bristol, while the cheapest is Devon. For many, the idea of increasing outdoor living space is a huge attraction and this is something that is easily attainable.
Infrastructure -The region lies on several mainline railways. The Great Western Main Line runs from London to Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance, keeping you well connected. With regular trains, you can be in London in just over an hour from Bristol, on the beach, or in the mountains in neighbouring Wales very quickly and easily. Passenger airports in the region include Bristol, Exeter, Newquay and Bournemouth.
Entertainment - Whilst the longer term impact of Coronavirus on our social lives has yet to be seen, having good options on your doorstep is still important and moving to the South West doesn’t mean the end of finding nice places to eat and drink. There are a number of Michelin starred restaurants, as well as over 20 vineyards and no shortage of good independent pubs, bars and cafes. For those who are partial to a spot of retail therapy, you will not be disappointed with the diversity of shops and outlets that the South West has to offer.
In addition to the usual high street offerings, the region also has a well-earned reputation for its haven of independent outlets, farmer’s markets and antique shops.With Glastonbury, Cheltenham Literature Festival, Boardmasters, Wallace & Gromit and so many independent festivals in the South West, it’s hard to be stuck for something to do (even if it’s been via virtual participation this year!). Bristol Old Vic is one of the oldest working theatres in the country and no trip to Cornwall would be complete without a visit to the world-famous open air Minack Theatre which is four miles from Land’s End.
Sports – first class rugby, football, horseracing, mountain biking, wild swimming, cricket, golf, sailing and surfing are all easily accessible and there are plenty of opportunities to participate (or just watch if you’re not feeling quite so energetic).
Bristol was UK’s first cycling city meaning commuting to work by bike is a realistic option for many lawyers. In addition, the South West is the ideal country sport location, offering a wide selection of activities from horse riding, fly fishing, clay pigeon shooting, pheasant shooting and deer stalking.
City & Countryside – The region is the perfect balance of city and countryside, boasting the best of both worlds! It has 8 cities: Salisbury, Bath, Wells, Bristol, Gloucester, Exeter, Plymouth, and Truro; and is also home to 12 areas of outstanding natural beauty. This includes two National Parks, Dartmoor and Exmoor; four World Heritage Sites, including Stonehenge and the Jurassic Coast; and more than 100 National Trust properties. The region has by far the longest coastline in England, and is well known for its traditional charming seaside fishing towns.
If you are thinking about moving to the South West and would like to arrange a confidential chat to find out more about current opportunities and how regional work could suit you, please contact Cathryn Holmes at Chadwick Nott.
Telephone: 0117 9171854